Icon Mask Maker
Icon Mask Maker is compatible with Snow Leopard (10.6) and higher.


Brief Description:
Icon Mask Maker (IMM) makes masks to build Transparent Icons. IMM is $10 shareware. You can try IMM for five launches before registration is required.

High resolution Icon and Mask files are compatible with Real Studio Development Environments and the high resolution PNG Icon file is compatible with App Wrapper. You provide the Source Icon and Icon Mask Maker makes the necessary files in a few seconds.

Background:
Developers prefer high resolution Transparent Icons for their applications. Icons use two layers: the Icon itself and the Mask. If the Mask is solid black, the Icon will be opaque around the image, but if the Mask is black only where the Icon has color, then the Icon will be transparent around the image.

For example, below you see three images. The left image is the Icon (top layer) and the middle image is the Mask layer. Using these layers gives you the Icon on the right. Notice that the area around the image is opaque (you cannot see the desktop).


IconTopLayerIconMaskSolidNonTransparentIcon

Below you see what happens when you make the Mask black only where the Icon (top layer) has color. The left image is the Icon (top layer) and the middle image is the Mask layer. Using these layers gives you the Transparent Icon on the right. Notice that you can see the desktop around the image around and within the Icon area.

IconTopLayerIconMaskLayerTransparentIcon

Icon Mask Maker makes the Icon, Mask, PNG Icon files with a few clicks. There is no need for complicated applications or drawing skills.

Source Icon:
Find a square image that you like at a royalty free web site. Fotolia.com is such a site and it has millions of images which can be licensed, downloaded and used for the Source Icon. Pick an image that is white around the main image. If you need a 1024 x 1024 pixel Icon, choose a square image that is at least 1024 x 1024. If the files will be scaled down to 512 x 512 pixel, a square image that is at least 512 x 512 pixel will do fine. The desired image format is "XXX.jpg". If the image format is not JPG, use an application such as Preview to convert it to an image with "XXX.jpg" format.

Simple Steps:
a. When you launch Icon Mask Maker you see a window with two large image areas, a slider and a push button.

IMMSS1a

b. Click on File - "Identify Output Folder" from the menubar and navigate to the folder where output files should be placed.

c. Click on File - "Load Icon Source" from the menubar and navigate to the Source Icon file. Again, the Icon Source file should be square, at least 1024 x 1024 pixels, JPG format, and have a white background. The Icon will be displayed in the left area and a Mask will be generated and displayed in the right area.

IMMSS2a

d. Move the "Fuzziness" slider back and forth to get the desired Mask shape All Icon pixels that are white will be white in the Mask. All Icon pixels that are not white will be black in the Mask. The "Fuzziness" slider sets the tolerance used in the code to decide how close to white will be considered white.

e. Click on the "Show PNG" button to bring up a new window displaying a PNG Transarent Icon from the Source Icon and the generated Mask.

IMMSS4a


f. Click on File - "Save Files" from the menubar to generate a JPG Icon file, a JPG Mask file, and a PNG transparent Icon file in the Output Folder. All files are 1024 x 1024 pixels.

High resolution output files are generated from undisplayed 1024 x 1024 images, not the displayed 512 x 512 pixel images. The Icon Source image is scaled as necessary.

Credits: Image for this web page and the icon for IMM is licensed from Fotolia.com (© piai - Fotolia.com).

Downloads:
Click
here to download the Intel version (2.4 MB) for Macintosh OS 10.6 or later (zip).